A wonderful rebuttal to the Education Week article decrying differentiation:
I had similar issues with the Education Week article, and I am so glad that you have framed differentiation as difficult but still worthwhile. I think your list of “maybes” is the most compelling argument for defining differentiation in a new way.
Differentiation is not simply giving kids more or less work. It is about giving kids different work and different entry points into the work. The one question I have, though, is who is actually responsible for making this happen?
If it is entirely up to the teacher with 30 other kids in their classroom then differentiation is pretty near impossible. However, if a lot of responsibility for making these choices and navigating resources to support learning can be done by the children themselves, then it becomes much more manageable. If they feel empowered to help each other as a community of learners, then it isn’t only the teacher doing the differentiating.
I think that is my central problem with the Education Week article. It is dependent upon believing that the only teacher in the room is the one standing at the front of the classroom. This is a myth. Every child is capable to teaching some else. Every child is capable of making choices for their own learning. If we deny these things, differentiation is an enemy, sapping time needed for THE teacher to teach. If we accept them, it is a pathway toward better outcomes, and much more ownership of learning for each individual student.